(Dennis Freeland, the longtime editor of the Flyer, recently had surgery for a malignant brain tumor. It is no exaggeration to say that the friends and well-wishers interested in his incisive and illuminating progress reports constitute an ever-growing audience.) The day before my operation, I wanted to decide upon some sort of creative visualization that I could take with me into the operating room. I felt like for this type of surgery especially, I needed to be at peace and worry-free. My friend David Lane, who lives in Minneapolis, has been sending me microcassette tapes for about the last month. It was a way of getting around my reading problem. Often he goes to a quiet gurgling brook near his house to make the tapes. I received just such a tape the day before my operation. And since the water in the brook, like much of the water in Minnesotta, ends up flowing into the Mississippi River and ultimately past Memphis, I came upon my idea. I would visualize the water coming from David's brook down the Mississippi river to Memphis. So as they gave me the first sedative with my family gathered around me, I had the microcassette recorder playing the sounds of the brook and a couple of pictures of my family to look at. As the sedative took effect, I started trying to imagine everyone on the list because I knew that a lot of you were sending me your prayers and good thoughts at that time. I wanted to take all of you with me into the operating room and so I started trying to remember the list starting from the top. In my drugged state, I got my metaphors mixed and slowly the list began to disappear into the water. The image of my dear sweet mother-in-law going kerplunk into the water almost made me laugh out loud (Sorry, Granna). Next thing I knew, I was in recovery and all of my doctors were marveling at how well I had gone through the surgery. "It’s because I was prepared for it," I told them. Thanks for being there.

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